January and what’s good for the world

January and what’s good for the world

A big happy 2024 to you all :)

It is almost impossible to avoid taking the opportunity to reflect on the last 12 months and consider our future intentions as we enter a ‘new year’ according to the Gregorian calendar. 

I am someone who often finds such inspiration in beautiful, poignant quotes and just the other day I read this one by the novelist and environmental activist Wendall Berry.

“We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us.”

It struck a chord with me unsurprisingly, but how do we know what is good for the world and how do we change our lives so that such a huge shift could even begin to be possible? Answering such questions may actually be the salvation we desperately seek. With poor mental health on the rise, it turns out the life we are all trying to ‘fit into’ doesn’t make much sense to the knowing parts of us.

I was recently doing an assignment for college on diversity and in a critique of counselling and psychotherapy, the following complaint was put forward in reference to the Western therapeutic industry “Therapy is normative; it promotes adjustment rather than emancipation”. It is indeed a valid point to contemplate as we culturally try to define and encourage a model of wellness within a society that is unwell. Maybe it is our society that needs therapy.

We don’t seem to know what is good for us anyway, in effect we are driving blind. So maybe turning the whole thing on its head and seeking out what is good for the world will start to help us uncover what is good for us too. Looking down through the short end of the funnel has blinkered our vision, time to turn the funnel around so we get to see the wider angle, a different perspective.

There is currently a huge rise in revisiting old traditions. We can’t easily go back to being hunter gatherers as there were only about 9000 people in the UK when we lived like that! But exploring how it was once possible to live in the world as PART of its ecosystem, more round table than hierarchical, as one species of many, honouring the invisible and unexplainable as well as showing reverence for all nature’s gifts that supported our survival and guided our journey, can help give us insight into what the world needs from us. Through re-exploring ancient well-trodden paths and practices, we can unpick what we uncovered about life back then and what has been lost and needs re-finding.

One thing that has been coming up a lot is how our modern day-to-day is so ‘doing’ and the hours we work and worry about things are long. It's the chatty and linear-thinking part of our brain (the left hemisphere) that is engaged almost exclusively. Back when we were into communal cooking and foraging and hunting, it appears that we only needed to ‘work’ for a few hours a day and there was much more time for relaxation, conversation and ‘being’. The experiential and present-moment part of our brain (the right hemisphere) encourages us to feel the awe of connecting to something much bigger than ourselves. We humans were designed for whole-brain living and what the world needs most from us is that we start living so.

So in responding to the initial questions at the beginning of this newsletter, I’d like to share something that might possibly be relevant. For the past 3 months I have been getting up half an hour earlier every day to make time for a more meditative moment with my first cup of tea. This practice I call Breathe and Brew and it will be launching into the outer world very soon, so I wanted to experience for myself what the benefits of engaging my right brain more consciously might be. There is science to back up why sitting and contemplating life with a cup of tea is such a time-honoured practice but for now I want to share that my head just feels a lot less full as I go about my day. It is like some of the thoughts that overloaded my brain have been given the space to be seen and heard so they no longer need to crush me. That just from adding 20 minutes of ‘being’.

So I’m starting to think that the greatest gift we can give back to the world in 2024 is relearning how to BE. For once we shift our brains back into functioning as they are supposed to, the right hemisphere getting as much airtime as the left, we might re-find our empathy for the wider world…. and not just the human one. Who knows, maybe if that proves to be good for the world, it will also be good for us :)


Wishing you peace and oodles of delicious contemplative cuppas this new year. Thank you for continuing to share the journey with us and we look forward to talking to you again in February.


Anne and Ric x

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